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Best place to buy suit fabric

Iyor

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I'm going to have a suit made, but I would like to get the fabric myself. Where do you buy your fabrics if your not using what your tailor has; in NYC, or on the web?
 

rs232

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Web. I pick up beautiful fabrics as the come up online occasionally. The trick is to only buy excellent fabrics at low prices, even if you won't have a suit made from them in the next couple of years. Otherwise, you are forever condemned to pay retail or even not be able to find the fabric you want when you finally decide that it's time for a new garment. $10-20 per metre works well for me.

This only works if you are discerning in your taste, for if you acquire fabric faster than you can make it into clothes, you end up being one of those people who finally decides they need the extra space and dump it all on ebay at bargain prices for people with more patience and restraint to buy.
 

rs232

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Often, from people who inherit tailors' and seamstresses' inventories and then liquidate them quickly.
 

hazelmaeby

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There is no shortage of fabric stores in NYC. Mood Fabrics is one of the big ones with a web site, that I happen to have heard of. (I live in Miami and have my stores, but that's no help to you.) But Mood's online listings are paltry; you'd have to go there.

Maybe someone else here knows more about the NYC garment district.

B Black and Sons in L.A. also sells suiting online. Pretty basic selection. They have a sale now on wool tropicals.

If you're having a suit made, I wouldn't stress too much about getting a deal on fabric. If your wool runs 60-100 bucks a yard, realize it's four yards max. The majority of your dollars go to labor.

And buying something online without touching it ... sounds iffy. There are just too many subtle differences in wool suiting. Find a fabric store. They might just be having a sale.
 

pkiula

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Originally Posted by hazelmaeby
If you're having a suit made, I wouldn't stress too much about getting a deal on fabric. If your wool runs 60-100 bucks a yard, realize it's four yards max. The majority of your dollars go to labor.


This is not entirely accurate, is it? A Zegna or Cerruti roll costs many multiples of a regular mill. No?
 

RogerC

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Originally Posted by pkiula
This is not entirely accurate, is it? A Zegna or Cerruti roll costs many multiples of a regular mill. No?

Some issues here: most of us do not live in large, well-appointed tailoring centres. Hence, we need to find cloth online. In my personal experience, mills selling on-line tend to be the smaller to mid-size establishments, like Dugdale, Fox, Minnis and some tweed weavers. There are some eBay sellers, independent vendors, cloth aficionados like the London Lounge, but that's about it.

Also, it strikes me that there seems to be little love on this forum for most of the better-known Italian makers, and even less so on the London Lounge and other fora. Partly because of perceived gaudiness, partly because of the whole luxury vs. durability debate, where the pendulum now seems to swing towards durability. There is also a value-for-money issue: Zegna is a big brand, with enormous overhead costs (all those AAA-location airport concessions cannot be cheap), which will of course be calculated in their prices.
 

Don Carlos

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Unless you're looking to purchase a rare or highly specialized bit of fabric, it makes little economic sense to go outside the boundaries of what your bespoke tailor will have on hand. You won't save a heck of a lot of money, if that's what you are after. If anything, your tailor can realize significant discounts in fabric costs because he buys in bulk. You, as a one-off buyer, will not get those savngs from a mill or a retailer of fabric.

Point is: only go hunting for fabric online if it's something your tailor doesn't have or can't get. Don't do it because you think you're getting a bargain. It would seem especially silly to buy cloth from a mill like Zegna, given that pretty much every tailor in the country carries Zegna.
 

pkiula

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I was kinda coming to the same conclusion, but thanks for articulating it so clearly!


Truth be told, I just wanted to know if selection could be done in the comfort of my own home so I could take something specific to my tailor. I've always found it a bit uneasy to be given those swatch books in the shop and to not be able to borrow them like a library to mull at leisure...
 

sellahi22

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Originally Posted by RogerC
Some issues here: most of us do not live in large, well-appointed tailoring centres. Hence, we need to find cloth online. In my personal experience, mills selling on-line tend to be the smaller to mid-size establishments, like Dugdale, Fox, Minnis and some tweed weavers. There are some eBay sellers, independent vendors, cloth aficionados like the London Lounge, but that's about it. Also, it strikes me that there seems to be little love on this forum for most of the better-known Italian makers, and even less so on the London Lounge and other fora. Partly because of perceived gaudiness, partly because of the whole luxury vs. durability debate, where the pendulum now seems to swing towards durability. There is also a value-for-money issue: Zegna is a big brand, with enormous overhead costs (all those AAA-location airport concessions cannot be cheap), which will of course be calculated in their prices.
The basis of the LL preference's of heavier & more robust English fabrics isn't value or durability or luxury, it's aesthetics. According to the experts, heavier fabrics produced by the best English mills like Lesser/Smith/Harrisons fall more cleanly, wrinkle less, achieve a better silhouette, have a superior depth of color, and provide a more interesting contrast of texture with the shirt/tie. For the most part, LL members could afford to buy any number of suits made with luxury Italian cloth. That said, I am personally tempted to experiment with luxury cloth in a bespoke commission. Before going bespoke I used to buy RTW from brands like Isaia and Zegna, and while the fit was inferior to my bespoke commissions, I find that the cloth (super 120s and 150s) had a different character - smoother, more tightly woven, and a bit more "modern" looking. Not that I necessarily prefer these qualities, but it might be nice to have a couple of such suits in my rotation for the sake of variety. OP: by far the best place to buy cloth online, in my opinion, is from forum distributor Andrew Rogers. His contact info can be found in this thread: http://www.styleforum.net/showthread...=Andrew+Rogers (The thread hasn't been updated recently but he is still in business). He sells cloth from Harrisons of Edinburgh, one of the very best English mills, at prices similar to what tailors pay. Maybe you could find a better deal at a close-out sale at a big fabric jobber in NYC such as Tip Top, but you would not be able to choose from an entire range of cloth to find exactly what you want.
 

GiltEdge

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John Hyatt in Summit, NY has Alan Flusser's collection of fabrics from Minnis, Lesser, and others he had commissioned when Rykken owned the business. They're at this store now because the parent company liquidated.
 

pkiula

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Originally Posted by sellahi22
The basis of the LL preference's of heavier & more robust English fabrics isn't value or durability or luxury, it's aesthetics. According to the experts, heavier fabrics produced by the best English mills like Lesser/Smith/Harrisons fall more cleanly, wrinkle less, achieve a better silhouette, have a superior depth of color, and provide a more interesting contrast of texture with the shirt/tie.


For both -- the informative post and the URL to Andrew Rogers -- thanks! The Flickr page will keep me busy for hours..
 

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